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A Recent Graduate’s Guide to Job Hunting

I’m a little surprised to be writing this piece. I thought yoga instructors would endorse Pepsi before it came to this. But I decided to take a leap of faith and put my knowledge out into the world.

There are so many ways to approach this topic. I could be edgy, swearing in every other sentence and throwing around snarky remarks about corporates. But I decided not to, for two reasons. First, I don’t know more than three cuss words. I’m not saying I’m not a pottymouth – I’m just not a very eloquent pottymouth. Second, cursing people with successful careers is a cliché. I don’t do clichés. I’m uNiQuE.

Just kidding. If you want this whole process to be easier, you should first learn Cliché as a Second Language. Generic whining will make you very relatable so if you don’t have a job, at least you’ll have friends. Here are some examples of complaints to keep handy:

  • You need experience to get a job. You need a job to get experience. It’s just not fair!
  • I should marry rich.
  • I would never use words like “long-term growth strategy” in my resume. I’m going to write my resume in knock-knock jokes, that’s what will make me stand out.   

PS – The knock-knock jokes idea is mine.

Job-hunting can consume you. It’s a reflex to scroll down to the Careers page on every website. Once, I was trying to book my parents a hotel room and before I realized what was happening, I was on the hotel’s employment page frantically telling them why I’d make a great PR associate, even though they were looking for a chef.

It’s a time double standards reign supreme. Many times, I have worked myself into a hissy fit over a polite “We didn’t see a fit but we’ll keep you on file for future opportunities.” “I bet you say that to everyone!” I’d cry, and then copy-paste “I was pleasantly surprised to have finally stumbled upon the right job for me” on the fiftieth cover letter that day.    

I’ve made my love for clichés pretty clear. I’m the real-life lazy-TV-dad-and-nagging-mom combo. The groom telling his bride “I know it’s bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress but you’re so beautiful” while the studio audience says “Aw!” So without further ado, I’ll take you into the next part of this – networking.

To know what networking is, you should first know what it’s not.

*ducks as people throw things at me*

I’ve gathered some research findings from Professor Internet, and here are some things networking is not:

  • A platform to brag
  • Comic Con for business card collectors
  • Speed dating in suits
  • A place to sulk in silence
  • A “who deserves employment more” contest

See? It’s more obvious now – networking is your destination for free food.

Networking scares me. To avoid looking stupid, I research myself to death. Somehow, there are no tips on dealing with that. No one else seems to run the risk of blurting “So, is that situation with your doctor all settled now?” when there’s a lull. 

Note: Apparently there is advice online on asking the right questions, so the one thing I pride myself on – research – doesn’t hold good anymore.  

First, I thought I’d end this with a link to my LinkedIn profile. But if I do that, a recruiter can see other LinkedIn profiles on that annoying “people like you” bar. I’m not trying to play in the spirit of fair competition. I’m trying to erase everyone’s memory of other qualified recent graduates who are flexible on salary and location.    

So instead, I’ll end this the way I started it – with some words of wisdom. Track all the jobs you’ve applied to. Colour-code them by location, role, prettiness of website, status of application, time spent crying over it. You will be left with a colourful tracker. Who doesn’t like colourful trackers?  

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8 thoughts on “A Recent Graduate’s Guide to Job Hunting

  1. I’m not a recent college grad (and I pray for y’all)- but networking is key, now. Unfortunately the whole, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know,’ rule that reigns for the best jobs out there. In the medical profession (most any area) 75% of the time someone is making a lateral move or upgrading to a better job based on their connections. I don’t mean direct connection but rather a potential employer’s ability to be able to research you through your established connections they are familiar with. My department works with at least 25-30 other local/state area departments that are accredited because they attend the same meetings and can easily develop relationships to where they can send emails to other supervisors and managers inquiring about a potential candidate… all because they attend the same quarterly meetings.
    If you don’t have experience. I say volunteering even if only a day a week in an area to gain ‘experience’ (a very shallow term as far as I’m concerned) so that you are able to be researchable and verifiable to a potential employer. The more well-known the employer, the better.
    That is the name of the game now. Too often, one job gets 25 or more (way more) applications and they have to sift through to the most desirable leads. To them, it makes sense to operate this way: find the most ‘connected’ person for the job.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hate networking with a passion. Work as an underworked, underpaid secretary. I believe there’s a lesson in this, but I refuse to learn it, because then I’d have to talk to people to understand how to fix it. So instead, I’ll leave a comment on a blogging site about it. Networking for the day achieved. Can I add you to my LinkedIn profile now? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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